9 Spring Cleaning Tips
The arrival of springtime brings a welcome break from frigid temperatures and the return of green grass and colorful flowers. But it also brings a fresh list of chores, like deep cleaning after a long winter and preparing your home for warmer, wetter weather.
As the seasons turn, here are nine of the most important tasks you should have on your household to-do list:
- Deep clean your refrigerator
It's a good idea to do this three or four times a year, but since that's not always a realistic schedule, you should make it part of your spring cleaning checklist. Completely remove the shelves and bins to wash them in hot, soapy water. Clean the inside of the refrigerator thoroughly with your cleaning solution of choice, and be sure to wipe inside the folds of the door seal. Don't forget the outside – dust bunnies and crumbs can collect behind and underneath the refrigerator, reducing airflow and hampering energy efficiency. The best tool for this job is a refrigerator coil brush, sometimes called an appliance brush.
- Deep clean your clothes dryer.
Remove the lint filter and scrub it in hot, soapy water with a nylon bristle brush. Remove as much lint and dust as possible from all accessible areas of the dryer – a vacuum hose attachment or appliance brush can make this job easier. Disconnect the vent hose and remove any accumulated lint, but be sure to reconnect it securely. This can improve energy efficiency and helps reduce the risk of accidental fire.
- Deep clean your clothes washer.
Are you noticing a theme? Springtime is the season for deep cleaning, and major appliances should definitely be included. Use a bleach-based cleaner to thoroughly clean the door gasket and any integrated dispensers, like the fabric softener dispenser. Start a wash cycle with the hottest water temperature, largest load size and longest cycle, and add several cups of white vinegar as the drum fills up. Once the cycle has agitated for several minutes, pause the cycle and let the vinegar solution sit for about an hour. The vinegar odor will dissipate shortly after the cycle finishes, leaving you with a clean machine.
- Deep clean your windows.
Springtime presents a great opportunity to save money and freshen your home on fair weather days by opening your windows – but this can be unpleasant if your windows are covered in dirt and bugs. Remove your screens and clean them thoroughly with a garden hose. Use glass cleaner to clean your windows on both sides, taking care to wipe down the window well and frame. If you have second-story windows or windows that are hard to reach safely, consider hiring a professional to do the work.
- Clean your vents and air ducts.
Home heating season can circulate lots of dust through your ductwork and vents, and if you have pets, ducts may also collect hair and dander. Vacuum and wipe down your vent covers, and use a vacuum hose attachment to clean inside the duct near the vent opening. If your ducts are very dirty, it may be time to invest in a professional duct cleaning, which involves temporarily sealing your duct system and using a powerful air compressor to completely clear it out.
- Get your air conditioner professionally tuned up.
This is standard maintenance, not going above and beyond. If you fail to schedule this service at the beginning of every home cooling season, you could experience low coolant, unlubricated parts, electrical malfunctions and other problems. Your annual tune-up is also your best opportunity to catch small problems before they turn into big, expensive ones.
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans.
As the weather warms up, you can start using your ceiling fans to keep cool, which is more energy efficient than adjusting the thermostat. Fans should rotate counterclockwise during warm weather to create a cooling downdraft, and clockwise during cold weather to help redistribute warm air.
- Clean your gutters.
Spring is the rainy season, and clogged gutters can allow rainwater to pool against the edge of your roof, potentially causing damage and contributing to leaks. With a stable ladder, non-slip shoes and a bit of care, many homeowners can do this job themselves. But if you have a multi-story house or aren't comfortable with heights, this is another job to outsource to a pro.
- Test your detectors and replace the batteries.
Ideally, you should have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home and in every bedroom. You should test these detectors monthly and replace the batteries every six months. The detectors themselves also have expiration dates – look for a sticker on the back and replace them as needed.
Springtime is all about rejuvenation, and your home should be no exception. Update your to-do list and take a weekend to scrub away those last vestiges of winter, making your home feel as fresh as the spring air!
You can find more tips for taking care of your home in our Learning Center.
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